Quarantine Requirements

Summary: DOH has published new requirements regarding student and staff quarantine.

Quarantine Requirements for Students and Staff who are Exposed to COVID-19

Seattle Public Schools has consistently followed the guidance of Washington State Department of Health (DOH) in our response to the pandemic.

DOH has published new requirements regarding student and staff quarantine. Seattle Public Schools began implementing components of the new quarantine requirements on Monday, January 10 for staff and will implement changes for students on Wednesday, January 12.  

Who is a Close Contact 

In an indoor classroom or structured outdoor setting, if students and staff are consistently and properly wearing masks AND can remain at least 3 feet apart they are NOT considered a close contact by the Department of Health (DOH).

The definition of a close contact may vary in some situations (e.g., less time spent in close proximity to an unmasked person who is coughing, direct cough/sneeze spray, or other contact that is more intense than sharing drinks, eating utensils, etc.).   

What to do if you are a Close Contact of Someone with COVID-19 

Who does not need to quarantine? 

  • You are 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people  
  • You are ages 5-17 years old and completed the primary series of COVID -19 vaccine (2 doses of Pfizer).  
  • You had a confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test) and no longer have COVID-19 symptoms  

If you meet the above criteria you should:  

  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19  
  • Get tested (rapid antigen or PCR test) at least five (5) days after you last had contact with someone with COVID-19  
  • Continue to monitor symptoms and test immediately if symptoms develop.  

Who does need to quarantine? 

  • You are 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, but have not received a recommended booster shot when eligible  
  • You have received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine over two (2) months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot  
  • You are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series  

 What to do for Quarantine 

  • Stay home and away from other people for at least five (5) days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. The date of your exposure is considered day zero (0). * 
    • *For household exposures, this would be the last day the person with COVID-19 is considered infectious.   
  • For 10 days after your last contact with someone with COVID-19, watch for fever (100.4⁰F or greater), cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms  
  • If you do not develop symptoms get tested (rapid antigen or PCR test) at least five (5) days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19  
  • If you develop symptoms, get tested (rapid antigen or PCR test) immediately and isolate until you receive your test results.  
  • If you test (rapid antigen or PCR test) positive, follow guidelines for “What to do if you have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.”  

Students who are required to quarantine and unable to consistently and correctly wear a well-fitting mask must stay in quarantine for the full 10 days.   

COVID-19 Testing

Documentation of a negative test result must be provided to the school before returning after a required quarantine.

Negative test results may come from a school testing program, a health care provider, local health jurisdiction, pharmacy, or other community-based test site. Learn about SPS testing opportunities.  

How to Submit Results: A negative rapid antigen or PCR test can be emailed, sent by text or delivered in-person to your child’s school.

Students that test negative on day 5 or later should continue monitoring for symptoms and wearing a well-fitting mask around others through day 10 (days 6-10) both in and out of school, including during extracurricular and sports activities.  

What type of test is accepted?  

A home test is not accepted at this time.

Negative test results may come from school testing programs, a health care provider, local health jurisdiction, pharmacy, or other community-based test site.  

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test (rapid antigen or PCR test) includes the original, a copy, or a photo of a document or other communication from the test provider or laboratory that shows:  

  1. The first and last names of the individual tested.  
  2. The type of test performed  
  3. The date the specimen was collected (must be on or after day 5 post exposure)  
  4. A negative result  

How will a student’s negative COVID-19 test be recorded?  

The test results and date the test was taken will be recorded in the student’s attendance record.  

If an individual or student who is a close contact chooses not to test or does not get tested

10-day Quarantine: Quarantine must last for 10 days after the last close contact. However, if any COVID-19 symptoms develop during the 10 days, the individual should isolate and get tested. In certain circumstances, a longer quarantine may be warranted.  

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